AG files felony election charges against Pigeon; Kennedy not charged

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman‘s Office filed felony election charges against the renowned political operative G. Steven Pigeon — a confidant of Bill and Hillary Clinton, Governor Andrew Cuomo, and billionaire B. Thomas Golisano — along with his two longtime associates, Kristy Mazurek and David Pfaff.  All three defendants pleaded not guilty, with State Supreme Court Justice David Cerio presiding.

Not included among those charged is local election law expert Peter A. Reese, a brilliant University at Buffalo trained engineer, retired attorney, and political operative. Reese has advised Pigeon for many years, and is known widely as a deft political saboteur.

Also not charged was State Senator Tim Kennedy, who contributed $80,000 to the WNY Progressive Caucus, the fundraising vehicle that Pigeon used to smear the widely respected county legislator Betty Jean Grant and her political allies — Winnie Fisher, Tim Houges, and Lynn Dearmeyer — during the 2013 legislature races.

Kennedy is thought to now be cooperating with the Attorney General.  Kennedy is aligned with Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, a close political ally of Schneiderman, who formerly served in Stewart-Cousins’ Senate caucus.

All three defendants face three charges of violating state election law: two counts of attempting to evade rules governing campaign contributions by unauthorized committees; and one count of filing a false instrument. All charges are class E felonies.

Pigeon was indicted last year on charges that he bribed State Supreme Court Judge John Michalek. Michalek pleaded guilty last year, resigned his seat and is awaiting sentencing.  He is also cooperating with the Attorney General.

Pigeon’s waterfront condo was searched on May 28, 2015 by State Police investigators. Those raids also included the residences of former Buffalo Deputy Mayor Steven M. Casey and Christopher M. Grant, a former aide to Republican Congressman Chris Collins.  

Grant designed the attack mailers in an attempt to oust Grant as Legislature Chairwoman and install Democrats (Barbara Miller-Williams, Wes Moore, and Richard Zydel) who pledged to join the Republican caucus in the county legislature.  Miller-Williams formerly caucused with the Republicans.  In exchange, she held the chairmanship of the legislature for two years, prior to being defeated by Houges.

Legislature Chairman John Mills, who now leads that Republican caucus, is not thought to be a target of the probe.

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